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From manager to walk-on, Bronson still inspires

first_imgYANA PASKOVA/Herald photoTanner Bronson has been a fan favorite ever since he first joined the Badger basketball team. The first exhibition game that he ever played in against UW- Parkside he hit a shot from the corner that sent the Grateful Red into a frenzy.A year and a half later the novelty has not worn off. The student section still waits for “T-Bron” to make his entrance at the end of the games and hopes for his second career basket. The first one came against hapless University of North Carolina-Greensboro his freshman season. He scored his first points of this season when he sank a free throw late in the Badgers’ win over Penn State last week.His story has become a little cliché and almost every student knows the script: the generously listed 5’10” student team manager turned player that walked on and eventually earned himself a scholarship. The kid looks more like a SERF point guard than one that dons a jersey at the Kohl Center.In his sophomore year he has seen minutes in the first two conference road games. The first being at Minnesota when the full court pressure in the first half necessitated Coach Ryan bringing in a ball handler off the bench. It was something that was not necessarily expected, but he was ready for it. “I did not have too much time to think about it,” Bronson said, whose other road appearance was at Ohio State in a tightly contested matchup. “I tried to play the best I could. I thought about it more afterwards, thought about things I should have and should not have done.”Tanner may sit near the end of the bench, but his story has now reached national notoriety. Bronson was profiled in the Sunday edition of The New York Times Jan. 8, 2006. To put things in perspective, the nationally minded newspaper that day ran a story on Gonzaga’s Adam Morrison, the co- favorite for player of the year. When asked about his reaction upon hearing that the Times wanted to do a feature on him, Bronson spoke humbly about the experience.”I mean, it’s exciting,” Bronson said. “I don’t know how to explain it, they wanted to write an article and I told my family, they got happy. I try not to think about it too much.”Expect more playing time for Tanner this season due to ineligibility of Greg Stiemsma and Marcus Landry and the transfer of DeAaron Williams. The Badger bench has shortened significantly in their absences and that means increased production is needed by other members of the team. Evidence of this was shown at Michigan when walk-on freshman Kevin Gullikson played 20 minutes. Prior to that game Gullikson only played 19 minutes the entire season.Tanner is from Milwaukee and attended Nicolet High School, where he played alongside a distinguished list of teammates. The first is Morris Cain, a Nicolet grad who also walked on to Wisconsin. They played together his senior year, while he was a senior and Cain was a sophomore.Another Bronson teammate was Joah Tucker, who was one of the main reasons that the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers had their miracle run to the Sweet Sixteen last March.Additionally, Pac-Ten preseason player of the year Dan Grunfeld ran the floor with him. He tries to keep in touch with them the best he can. “We call each other if one of us was on TV, they are definitely friends of mine, I talked to Joah before and after we played them last month,” Bronson said.Bronson does not demand the extra attention that he gets, though he understands why he receives it.”I try not to worry about things like that,” Bronson said. “I try to keep playing and doing things the right way, whatever happens, happens”.He, for one, does not get tired of hearing the old story of the little manager that could. “It’s who I am,” Bronson affirmed.last_img read more